Marketers should use social networks to encourage consumer brand engagement, an expert has advised.

Geoff Galat, vice-president of marketing and product strategy at Tealeaf, said that by establishing a contact point on social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace or even LinkedIn, marketers can reach out to their consumer base more strongly.

He explained that the social media technique puts a “human face and name” to a brand or organisation and opens up new channels of dialogue with consumers.

“[Using social networks] wins you the respect of online audiences almost automatically,” Mr Galat said. “Often they just want to know someone is there in case they need them.”

He conceded that social networks will make it difficult to hide any criticisms consumers may have, but by responding quickly and efficiently to any complaints, brands can reduce the impact of any negative comment in the first place.

According to the eBay’s third Online Business Index, 79 per cent of firms believe the introduction of online trade has saved their business.

Posted by Suzanne Stock – Communications Director, HR, Online Advertising, General Marketing